You tell me what my grade was for last week's fantasy running back start/sit advice. Ito Smith and Royce Freeman got injured. Those injuries take any shot at 100 percent off the table. However, I did hit on my two other players that were not injured. Frank Gore had 76 yards and a touchdown. Tony Pollard nearly out-produced Ezekiel Elliot as Pollard scored and came close to 130 yards from scrimmage. Not bad at all. But I'm hoping for a more complete grade for my Week 4 suggestions.
Wayne Gallman was one of if not the most popular pickup this week. However, he also will be one of the most unpopular plays for Week 4. Those that start Gallman will be fortunate that the volume will likely be there. Gallman's floor is not bad and I think you can count on 60 yards. But his ceiling is not much higher. The five rushes for 13 yards he had last week are indicative of his body of work. Gallman has 169 career carries during which he's averaged 4.0 yards per carry and has two rushing touchdowns.
In case you're not getting the message, I'd SIT Gallman. But if you just lost Saquon Barkley, there's a good chance you don't have better options. I can understand why you would start him. Hopefully, you understand though why I am making that recommendation, as well as my other recommendations below.
Week 4 Start/Sit Advice for Running Backs
Start Mark Ingram, Sit Nick Chubb
AFC North divisional battles have historically been slugfests with both teams trying to establish the run and let their defense do the rest. However, I am not so sure that will be the case here. I am sure however that I would start Ingram over Chubb.
Chubb's numbers have not been wonderful, but they're still pretty solid. He's rushed for 75 yards in two out of three games. The one game he rushed for only 62 yards, he did give his owners a TD. But Baltimore is always stout against the run and this year is no different. Baltimore has allowed the seventh-fewest fantasy points to running backs this year. This is not the week that Chubb outperforms his draft position.
Meanwhile, Ingram has completely outperformed his draft position so far. Ingram has been a touchdown machine with five TDs in three weeks. I would not be surprised if the Browns are able to keep Ingram out of the end zone this week. But he does seem to have a nose for the goal line and even if he doesn't score, I think Ingram can still give you double-digit fantasy points.
Start Chris Carson, Sit Todd Gurley
Gurley has not been horrible. He does have more than 200 rushing yards so far this season. That's okay, but those that drafted him in the top 20 were definitely hoping for more. I don't think that changes this week as Tampa Bay's run defense is one of the biggest surprises of the season. Last season the Bucs gave up the third-most fantasy points to running backs. But so far this season, no one has given up fewer fantasy points at the running back position. The script for this game does not look promising for Gurley. His owners will likely be disappointed again.
Meanwhile, most of the summer we heard that Carson was going to be the man to own in the Seattle backfield. So far, not so much. Carson has yet to exceed 60 rushing yards in any game. Even more unsettling are the fumbles. Three in three weeks is not the pace you want. As last week showed when he was replaced by C.J. Prosise, Carson may be on a short leash. However, I suspect he knows this is his last chance to prove he can hold onto the ball and will.
And assuming he doesn't fumble, Carson should find plenty of lanes against an Arizona defense that has been uneven at best. Similar to Mark Ingram, I would be surprised if Carson doesn't give you double-digit fantasy points this week.
— Written by Mark Strausberg, a member of the Athlon Network Contributor, who despite his youthful exuberance and good looks has been playing fantasy sports before Wildcats or Hoosiers even made it to VHS. Got a fantasy sports question or thought? Hit him up on Twitter @MarkStrausberg.